Monday, February 26, 2007

Mantis Monday for 2-26-07

This is a handcrafted tile from Yancey Crafted Tile, Inc.
I found it while searching for something mantis-y, and I like it so much, I'm going to try to buy one, but they have lots of other beautiful tiles, too. If you visit their website, be sure to click on Relief Tile to see them.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The approach of spring

The teachers are starting to ask about tadpoles. I had been in no hurry to search for them, but figured I should at least check out the trail and see how it looks. New growth has gotten off to a slow start, probably because we haven't had much rain. But amid the dead stalks of last year, there were a few bits of green starting to sprout up.

The stinging nettle has started to come back from the dead.

I'm guessing this is a tiny Red Admiral caterpillar.

Oh, and no tadpoles yet.

The sad Polyphemus

Last fall, Mrs. W. ordered three Polyphemus cocoons from a mail-order educational supply. As the months went by and they didn't hatch, she feared they were dead, but she kept them anyway, just in case. Last week, one finally emerged. It was a holiday weekend, and she had taken an additional day. The substitute teacher told her that the children all noticed the moth when they returned to school last Tuesday. This picture was taken on Wednesday. The poor creature had apparently emerged sometime over the weekend and spent days beating its wings against the inside of the butterfly pavillion.

After school on Wednesday, Mrs. W. released the moth. The two other cocoons have yet to hatch.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More buggy cuteness

At Target yesterday, I came upon an aisle of cheery spring outdoor and garden products for children. There was a blue penguin-themed section, a pink kitty (or maybe bunny?) section and a bug-themed one. I whipped out my camera.

Happy Giddy Bag of Bugs! What, are they having a party in there?

But seriously, (as if I can take these plastic bugs seriously,) when I got home, I looked up David Kirk, whose name was featured on the labels of some of these items. It turns out, he is the creator of the wildly popular Miss Spider series of childrens books. And Miss Spider has had a spinoff (pun intended!) called Sunny Patch, which includes a bunch more books, a TV show, DVD, and lotsa cute products, in addition to the stuff above.


And even though they're made of plastic and obviously riding a wave of marketing glory, they are still undeniably cute. And they're bugs. So there.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mantis Monday for 2-12-07

(Quick, while it's still Monday!!)
Spotlight on another exotic species. Cilnia humeralis.
Here is a thread from the Mantid Forum with lots of pictures of this mantid. The females are really "chunky", and they remind me of a primitive sculpture, such as the Venus of Willendorf, especially when they are gravid.

And here's a really striking photo by Lysmenia on Flickr.

I have never seen this species in person. I only "discovered" it recently, online.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Let's eat some bugs!

I noticed these in the market today:

(See, this is why I love having a little camera I can carry with me wherever I go!)
Anyway, if your child has grown tired of biting the heads off his Teddy Grahams, now he can eat bugs. Mmmm, yummy! Actually, I didn't even buy a box. In my hurry to take the picture, I chopped off part of the price sticker, but you can see it was $3.99! I'm too cheap to spend 4 bucks on a little box of cookies, even if they are cute bug cookies. I'll get 'em when they go on sale, and/or I have a coupon.

Door Stoppers

Yesterday, I noticed two insects hanging out right outside my front door.

Sphinx moth as seen from inside.

Same moth viewed from outside.

There was also this really big ant. At least I think it's an ant. Our usual ants are the tiny Argentine ants, which are no bigger end to end than just the thorax of this one.

It's been 24 hours since I saw and photographed these bugs, and they're still there, resting on my front door.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Deroplatys photo shoot

I noticed yesterday that my dead leaf mantis had shed her skin again. Time for a few pictures to show her off.


This tiny guy (about 1/2" long) was on the outside wall of the garage.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mantis Monday for 2-05-07

This metal sculpture is about a foot long. The artist is Michael Turner.
When you visit his site, be sure to click on his insects and spiders link, to the left of the mantis picture, to see more great pieces.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Captive no longer

Elvis has left the building.

I dragged myself out of the pre-Superbowl doldrums on this warm afternoon to stop by the arboretum and check on the monarch caterpillar who had grown up inside this wire cage. He was gone.

I checked all the plants that surrounded the cage, but I didn't see him. I did find an overwintered male gray bird grasshopper, and a brown monarch chrysalis that looked dead. (Probably not "Elvis").

OK. Back to the Superbowl. Gotta watch those commercials, you know.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Still captive

Remember this guy? He was just about full-grown when I checked the other day. Still living the good life on what has turned out to be the only milkweed plant that didn't get freezer burnt in our cold spell the other week. Still behind bars, too. There's plenty of room for him to get out while he's still a caterpillar, but I bet he'll end up doing his thing from the inside of the wires.
I'll be back to check on him tomorrow.

Mr. Softshell

I switched my yellow lab, Boomer, to a new vet recently. Dr Greek has actually been my reptile vet for several years. There is a little alcove next to the waiting room with a couple of tanks in it. One has this big soft shelled turtle in it.

He he! Looks like he's waving. And get a load of those nostrils!

The other tank had a chameleon in it. I was captivated by the turtle, and then I got to talking to the girl at the desk and I ended up forgetting to take a picture of the chameleon. Hopefully I'll remember in 3 weeks when Boomie goes back for his next shot.
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